This week, for the first time in my life, I bought myself perfume. I have never owned a perfume that wasn’t bought for me. Actually, it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I even really liked the stuff. My love for perfume came after going to a talk by Roja Dove which was held at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. What an amazing man he is, a storyteller if there ever was one. His passion for scent was positively infectious, and thus my own love affair for perfume took shape. Now actually, though I say that I love perfume, this does not mean that I am one of those women with a hundred fragrances on my countertop. No, that would be my mother LOL, the one who can’t pass up the free gifts with purchase. I choose to only wear one fragrance. I like the idea that people will associate a certain lovely scent with a certain lovely Caroline.
Back in the day, my signature scent was the highly ubiquitous Chanel No 5. It had to be the Eau de Parfum (the one in the tiny bottle), and it had to be purchased in Paris. Yep, I was really high maintenance… and you would infer correctly if you guessed that despite the major lifestyle change I’ve had since the separation with my ex, I still have delusions of grandeur. But why not huh? Am I not the heroine of my own fairy tale? I chose to wear Chanel No 5, because not only was strong and unapologetic, but it was also very classic and feminine… a truly lovely scent. The problem is, when I was in the midst of my separation process I sold lots of my things on Ebay, including my entire collection of Chanel No 5 stuff. It was purchased by an absolute weirdo who tried to “befriend” me. Ever since, I couldn’t help associate the scent with him, and the feelings I was going through as I had to liquidate my life online. It wasn’t the best of times. I never replaced my lovely perfume.
Then, one day I purchased my beloved Santa Maria Novella rose water online from Ades de Venustas —the most charming little perfume store which I have ever had the pleasure of visiting (and I have been to quite a few) in New York City. When my rose water arrived, it also came with some perfume samples which were decanted into little unlabeled vials. That is when I discovered a scent that was truly me. It is not the powerhouse that is Chanel No 5, but it is my idea of magic in a bottle. When I first put it on my skin, it smelled like how I would imagine a fairy would smell after she had been running through an icy forest: woody and fern-like but with a sort of effervescent quality. And like magic, that scent changes into something else, something somewhat spicy and reminiscent of incense. It is completely unique, and I love it that there are absolutely no floral scents involved. It is, what is called in the perfume world, a fougere. Fougeres are typically marketed to men. This scent is not actually feminine but I wouldn’t describe it solely masculine either. No, how I would describe it is “deliciously magical”… well, at least I think so. Fou d’Absinthe by L’Artisan Parfumeur is undoubtedly my signature scent. I love it that this is the first perfume I ever bought for myself. I love it that I associate it with no other human being except Moi-self. I love how it makes me feel: free and worldly but mysterious, somewhat obscure (in the best possible way), and slightly enchanted. I’m going to be wearing this one for many years.
Do you have a signature scent? If so, what is it? I would love to know. Time to share with the class.